Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ. disposed of a criminal appeal filed by the State of Maharashtra against the judgment of the Bombay High Court whereby an FIR filed against the respondents was quashed.
The FIR was filed against the respondents, for the transportation and sale of gutkha/pan masala, under Sections 26 and 30 of the Food and Safety Standards Act, 2006 along with Sections 188, 227, 273 and 328 IPC. The respondents filed criminal petitions before the High Court for quashing the FIRs. The High Court allowed the petitions. Aggrieved thereby, the State filed the instant appeal.
The Supreme Court was of the view that the judgment of the High Court could not be sustained. It was unable to agree with the conclusion of the High Court that non-compliance of the provisions of FSS Act cannot be the subject matter of a prosecution under IPC. The High Court was, observed the Supreme Court, clearly wrong in interpreting the scope of Section 188 IPC. The section does not only cover breach of law and order but is attracted even in cases where the Act complained of causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety. Furthermore, the Court did not accept the position that Section 55 of FSS Act was the only provision which can be resorted to for non-compliance of orders passed under the Act as it is a special enactment. Reference was made to State of Bihar v. Murad Ali Khan, (1988) 4 SCC 655; State of Rajasthan v. Hat Singh, (2003) 2 SCC 152; State (NCT of Delhi) v. Sanjay, (2014) 9 SCC 772. It was observed that there is no bar to a trial or conviction of an offender under two different enactments, but the bar is only to the punishment of the offender twice for the same offence. Section 26 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 was also discussed to observe that prosecution under two different acts is permissible if the ingredients of the provisions are satisfied on the same facts. It was held that there is a bar for prosecution under IPC merely because provisions in FSS Act prescribe penalties. Therefore, the finding of the High Court on this point was set aside. Regarding the point as to whether offences under Sections 188, 272, 273 and 328 IPC were made out against the respondents, the matter was remanded back to High Court for reconsideration. The appeal was disposed of in the terms above. [State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan Sayyed Subhan,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1580, decided on 20-09-2018]